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Hun Sen, Vietnam PM vow to end border row

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Prime Minister Hun Sen waves alongside Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc as he inspects a guard of honour in Hanoi. hun sen’s facebook page

Hun Sen, Vietnam PM vow to end border row

Prime Minister Hun Sen and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc have agreed to speed up the resolution to an ongoing dispute with the swift demarcation of the outstanding 16 per cent of their shared border “based on the spirit of friendship”.

The agreement, with its aim to “expand and strengthen the existing relationship between the two countries”, was made during the prime minister’s official visit to Hanoi on Friday and Saturday.

“Regarding the remaining border issue, we have made efforts to resolve it and today [we] have found a way to speed up the resolution in order to end this task as soon as possible . . . I am really happy that the Cambodia-Vietnam border is currently a border of friendship and has been significantly developing.

“Some areas are former battlefields [and now] they have become a market,” Hun Sen said at a press conference held by the two prime ministers.

“The big result from this visit is the strengthening and expansion of the existing relationship between the two countries. Agreements and memorandums of understanding [MoUs] have been signed, which is the continuation of the expansion and strengthening of cooperation to [improve] the relationship between the two countries,” he said.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs press release said on Saturday: “The two leaders discussed at length the border issue. They welcomed the achievements on demarcation and agreed to urge both sides of the Joint Border Commission (JBC) to accelerate the completion of the remaining 16 per cent of the land border, based on the spirit of friendship and good neighbourliness, in order to build a common border of friendship, stability and long-lasting cooperation for future generations to enjoy.”

The head of Cambodia’s border committee, Var Kimhong, told The Post on Sunday that the two governments signed an agreement to recognise the results of the completed 84 per cent of the border demarcation.

Kimhong said the two leaders expressed their commitment to the demarcation process, requesting France for colonial-era maps of 1/50,000 scale with which to mark out the remaining 16 per cent. He said the French had agreed and requested Cambodia and Vietnam to fulfil further formalities.

“[The French government] has requested us to send more formalities . . . we are late with the formalities – technicalities we have not agreed on yet – because they are detailed documents . . . Our talks [on these] have not reached an agreement."

“We will make all efforts to end it in the future as instructed by the two prime ministers and send the formalities to [the French], who will then send their technical officials,” he said.

Cambodia and Vietnam have a shared 1,270km land border and need to install a further 314 border markers.

Hun Sen told Xuan Phuc and the Vietnamese delegation that “propaganda” which said Cambodia is building a foreign military base is false as the Cambodian Constitution does not allow such bases in the Kingdom.

“It could become a concern to neighbouring countries as well in the region if this propaganda continues to exist, and so I hope this bad rumour will end,” he said.

Hun Sen said on the occasion of the upcoming 40th anniversary of the “7 January” defeat of the Khmer Rouge, Cambodia would organise “a big celebration” and show that Vietnam played a major role in the victory.

“Cambodia will organise a big celebration to more clearly show the value of 7 January, and the [resulting] new life of the Cambodian people and Cambodian development, especially to clearly highlight Vietnam’s role in the liberation of Cambodia and [express] gratitude,” the prime minister said.

The government said six major documents have been signed with Vietnam, including an MoU on cooperation in the transport sector between this year and 2025, an amendment to a protocol (2005) on the implementation of an agreement regarding transport via land (1998).

Other MoUs are an amendment to an agreement on transport via waterways (2009), agreements on Cambodia-Vietnam border trade, the promotion of bilateral trade for 2018-19 on mutual preferences on customs tariff, and an agreement on the prevention of cross-border crime and the return of items of heritage.

Hun Sen said that by 2020, trade between the two countries would be worth $5 billion, and cooperation between Cambodia and Vietnam would prevent all forms of illegal activity along the border.

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